An article in the Vancouver Sun contends that the elimination of a category of workers used extensively to hire and relocate high-tech workers to Canada, may have dire consequences for the Canadian VFX/Games (in fact, much of the high tech) sector.
For years, going back to the late 1990s, high-tech companies have been able to nimbly usher in key talent from outside Canada by using a federal IT (information technology) worker category. Basically, it allowed companies based here to put together project teams on the fly.
“To deal with critical shortages, C.I.C. (Citizenship and Immigration Canada) and Service Canada (which issues temporary work visas) chose seven IT positions and exempted them,” said Vancouver lawyer Craig Natsuhara, who advises several large digital media firms. “So if, say, EA (the video game maker with offices in Burnaby) has a new title, it could easily bring in three of these (designers, artists, programmers), or five of those.”
But Ottawa is eliminating this category at the end of September and the prospect of this not only has the digital media, gaming and visual effects industry in Vancouver worried, but Vancouver city hall too. It has been working closely with the Vancouver Economic Development Commission to pitch the city as a place where these global companies should plant a flag, invest money and have operations.
While the article is Vancouver-based, the federal ruling could affect other VFX/Games hubs such as Montreal and Toronto.
Read more over at The Vancouver Sun.